When I first heard that Joy Behar was getting her own show on CNN, I did some serious eye rolling. Now, I try like hell to avoid shows like The Viewas much as possible, but somehow they just manage to seep into the world’s collective unconscious. (Things I seem to have an encyclopedic knowledge of, despite all my most rational desires: The View, Oprah, Paris Hilton, John and Kate + 8, The Batchelor, etc.). Anyway, when I have watched The View (entirely not on purpose!), she sounds useless and shallow. When I hear quotes from her, she sounds, well, useless and shallow, but usually also mean and nasty. But, whatever, right. I mean, who watches CNN anyway?
But, I do depend on their website to get regular updates at work (Fox’s site pretty much sucks, and everything about MSNBC pretty much sucks), so I couldn’t miss her (debut?)article in CNN’s commentary section.
On a recent tour of a Ukrainian orphanage, Elton John and his partner met Lev, a 14-month old HIV-positive boy.
They immediately fell in love with the child, but their possible bid to adopt the adorable tiny dancer was rejected by Yuriy Pavlenko, Ukraine’s Family, Youth and Sports Minister.
Mr. Pavlenko, here are some tips about family, youth and sports. Family doesn’t mean a huddle of orphans sharing a few soiled mattresses, it’s not youth if you die of AIDS before you reach kindergarten, and wrestling over dinner scraps is not a sport.
So, instead of leading with facts or argument, she starts right off with being a smartass. Charming.
But that could be Lev’s fate now, because the Ukrainian government said Elton and his beau David Furnish are too old to adopt the boy. It sounds like the real reason is they’re too gay.
John and Furnish tied the knot in 2005, becoming one of Britain’s first gay civil unions, but Ukraine doesn’t recognize gay unions.
Ukrainian Orthodox Church spokesman Father Georgy Gulyaev called Elton John a sinner and said, “thank God it’s impossible under Ukrainian law for [him] to adopt a child.” Apparently in the Ukraine, God’s No. 1 priority is preventing gay couples from giving sick kids a better life. God would never want something like that to happen.
More with the sarcasm instead of argument. I’m willing to bet that this woman thought that “No Bushit” bumper stickers represented the hight of intelligent political discussion. But what really gets me is the “it sounds like” argument. Why does it sound that way? Because somebody in the country (not the person who denied the adoption) said something against homosexuality? Or because it fits her narrative?
Notice how off-handedly she buries the reason that the Ukrainians gave for denying the adoption. And notice that she doesn’t mention how old Mr. John actually is (he’s 62, or about 14 years younger than my grandfather, who will welcome a great-grandchild this year). It’s not in any way unusual for a 62-year-old to be denied the right to adopt, except for the fact that most of them probably wouldn’t even try, knowing that 40-ish is the cutoff almost everywhere:
The other option [as opposed to trying to get a baby in the U.S.] in pursuing an infant adoption is to consider countries that are more flexible concerning the age of the adopting parents. For some years, couples up to age 43 have been able to adopt from Korea or India . Those over 43 will find some Latin American countries that take applicants. African countries are very flexible on ages of adopters. China wants applicants who must be 30 or older, while Russian and Bulgaria have been open to those in their late 40s, especially for preschool age children.
So, if Mr. John had attempted to adopt in 1989, he would have had a hard time of it, gay or no.
Now, here’s where I do agree with Ms. Behar. I do think that, given this extra-ordinary situation, Mr. John and his partner should be able to adopt this child. First, although I’m aware of the research indicating that gay parents are fine, I’m skeptical. It’s still too new of a cultural phenomenon to draw thorough results, and you are going to have a hard time convincing me that the majority of the researchers don’t have an agenda on this issue. That said, I think that it is at least very likely that a child is better off in a stable home with gay parents is better than a lot of alternatives, such as a Ukrainian orphanage. (I’ll add that I don’t know the conditions of this orphanage, and although Ms. Behar lists some common stereotypical poor country orphanage complaints, she offers no support for the idea that this child’s situation was that bad.) So, even if I’m skeptical of the idea that gays are always as good as a mother and a father, I’m not holding it against Elton here. (At the risk of sounding mealy-mouthed, I’m not saying I’m against gay adoption in general, just that I’m on the fence.)
Second, I’m not troubled by the age thing. Sure, there are a lot of problems with older parents, but, again, these are extra-ordinary circumstances. While I hate to put consideration for one’s wealth above other concerns, I don’t overlook that Mr. John is a man of very significant means, and he can ensure that a child is well taken care of, even if he and his partner are unable to provide it. And, once again, we have the alternative is a poor country orphanage argument, and given the fact that the child is HIV positive, he may have a reduced life expectancy besides. Let a chance at a real family brighten up what life the child does have.
Third, I’m not even at all bothered by the phenomenon of celebrity child shopping. When we are talking about children who, in their home countries, would probably lack access to good education, healthcare, social development, etc., I really don’t care that a celebrity might get some self-congratulatory attention out of the deal. Doesn’t matter a bit to the child that is not dying of malaria, in my opinion.
Of course, why would we consider all of this, when we can just throw in some good old fashioned ethnic stereotypes, instead?
He’ll likely end up in foster homes and — if he lives long enough — maybe he can turn into a bitter, vodka-swilling drunk. All because the Ukrainian government won’t let him be adopted by two loving gay parents who are fabulously rich and want to give him a home with the best healthcare available, dressed in Versace jammies and cashmere Huggies. Not to mention all the play dates with Brangelina’s kids.
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tagged: Adoption, Age, Gay Issues, Gay Marriage, Joy Behar, Parenting, Useless Stuff | Leave a comment »